Warren and Louise Oxendine

My wife bought a vibrator at a yard sale. It wasn't one of those miniature made-for-Cape-Canaveral shaped ones either. It looked like a power drill. It came with attachments and speed control. She laid it out on the white tablecloth like it was nothing, flanked on one side by a red Fiesta Ware pitcher, and on the other by a length of pale blue satin. Without so much as a blink, Louise pulled her hair behind her ear, one gray strand falling into a crescent over her eye, and reached inside the brown paper grocery bag again.

"Holy Moley," I said. "Do you know what that thing is?" Sometimes Louise would buy yard sale stuff for no other reason than its shape and color. She wouldn't know its name or use. Knickknacks she called them.

She held up six blue, chrome-rimmed coasters in one hand and a roll of red Christmas wrapping paper in the other. "Fifty cents," she said, laying the wrapping paper beside a nutcracker set and the coasters beside the vibrator. I picked it up. It was lighter than it looked.

"Where on earth did you get this thing?"

"On mornings like this," she said thoughtfully, "when it looks like rain, that's when you get the best deals." She sifted through the bag. "After people go to the trouble to put everything out, they don't want to pack it up again." She paused, then looked at me for the first time. "The sound of thunder can be a happy sound," she said. Louise spread several small pieces of glass, spacing them just so.

"What are you going to do with this?"

She held up a small prism to the light. "Warren, didn't you say you had a nine o'clock tee time?" she said. The whole spectrum of color crossed her face.